Gaming has only recently started to be recognized as a type of sport. E-sport, to be precise. This is not to say that gaming hasn’t always been competitive, just that it has now reached a whole new level of popularity and renown.
Since gaming is now universally accepted as a sport, it’s important to start treating it as such. Sure, practicing is a big part of both esports and regular sports, without practice, you have no hope of getting to that next rank. Practice does indeed make perfect. But there is more to it than that, just like with regular sports.
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What many gamers fail to consider is that they too need to take care of their bodies. Their wrists and hands especially. This article will cover why hand exercises are important for your health and comfort, how they can improve your gameplay, and even gives you some great examples of easy exercises you can do at your desk to keep you in tip-top fighting shape.
Why is it important to do hand and wrist exercises?
Your hands, and especially your wrists, are made up of complex structures of muscles, tendons, liniments, and joints. They are all pretty sturdy, as I’m sure you are aware, but that doesn’t mean they are invincible. Small rapid movements, like when you are typing, can put a huge amount of strain on your hands and wrists in both your mouse hand and keyboard hand. This also happens from long gaming sessions as well.
This strain can be exaggerated by constant use and poor maintenance. Maintenance is not usually a word we associate with our bodies, but we probably should. Proper maintenance of your hands and wrists is the difference between getting carpal tunnel syndrome in your early 30s and not. Between getting terribly painful arthritis in your later years and just mild aches and pains. Even now, it can be the difference between comfortable typing and general soreness and irritability.
You would be surprised how common wrist injuries are in esports. For a non-contact sport, the injuries are massively disproportionate to what they should be. Do you think many chess players get carpal tunnel? Some do, but not as many as PC gamers.
Can hand and wrist exercises improve your gaming?
Hand and wrist exercises are important for feeling your best, but, they can be equally useful when attempting to play your best. Just like warming up before a game of basketball will stop you from pulling a muscle, and can get yourself in the right headspace – wrist exercises can greatly improve your gameplay.
These exercises will improve dexterity and speed while reducing the chance of soreness and cramps. Doing these exercises between games can keep the blood flowing to your hands which will make you more responsive to fast-paced games. Making these exercises part of your pre-game ritual can help get your mind ready to play. It lets your body know that it’s game on, which will help the muscle memory kick in.
Some great hand and wrist exercises for gamers
There are lots of great exercises that can be done comfortably and easily from your desk. Luckily, these exercises require little to no room and are pretty quiet. You can do them easily all without ever leaving your gaming chair!
Exercise with a grip strengthener
The first exercise is using a grip strengthener. You can find a kit of various grip strength devices on Amazon.
Your finger and wrist strength will greatly improve by using one of, or all of, these devices. The stronger your muscles in your wrist and hands the less likely you are to strain them. They can even improve dexterity somewhat if you use varying strength devices.
10 Finger Sphere Stretch
An exercise you can do without the need for a device is a simple stretch with all 10 of your fingers. Simply touch your fingertips together, to make a sort of sphere shape. Then gently push your hands together while spreading your fingers out. Then move your hands back apart while keeping your fingers together.
Do this several times, as far as you can, this is a good way of stretching all the joints in your fingers out. It’s better than just cracking them, which can be painful and runs the risk of damaging one of them.
Quick Finger “Drum” Technique
Another dexterity exercise you can do is by drumming your fingers against one another when they are all together in your sphere. First thumbs, then index fingers, then middle fingers, etc. As fast as you can. This can greatly improve your speed when typing and using combos when gaming. It’s all about muscle memory, your fingers can only move faster when you teach them how to do so.
Wrist Curles with Weight and Armrest
Another good exercise is to sit with your arms on the rests of your chair. Then, hold a 3-5 pound weight in each hand. Gently dip the hand, with the weights, over the side of the rest while keeping your forearm and wrists on the armrest. Do this for a few repetitions on both sides of the rest. This is amazing for wrist strength, you can do this a few times a day for the best results.
Exercise During Load Times and Cutscenes
These strength exercises can massively reduce your risk of strain and injury. The stronger muscles in your wrists, and to an extent your hands, will protect them from the beating they receive every time you have an intense gaming session.
If you are playing a game with a respawn timer, like league of legends, or that’s round-based like CSGO, then you can do these exercises while you are waiting to be able to play again. The good news is, if you hate them, it will encourage you to play better to avoid doing them!
Hand Exercise for Gamers – Simple yet Powerful
Hopefully, you now have a good idea about why hand and wrist exercises are so important. For anyone who uses keyboards regularly, but especially gamers. If we don’t take the proper precautions and take care of our hands and wrists now, we won’t be able to game at all later.
Any of these exercises are beneficial, sure, you might have to pay a few bucks to get the exercise devices. But think of it as an investment in your future. As a gamer and as a person in general. If you are unsure about using a specific weight, start small and work your way up. Going too hard too soon is very counterproductive to what we are trying to achieve here.